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  1. #1
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    Rams make final preparations

    Rams make final preparations
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Wednesday, Apr. 20 2005

    All three of the "Killer Bs" - offensive tackles Alex Barron, Jammal Brown, and
    Khalif Barnes - could play right away for the Rams if they had to, says general
    manager Charley Armey.

    Barron, Brown and Barnes are considered the top three offensive tackles in this
    year's draft. Barron, from Florida State, isn't expected to be there when the
    Rams pick - at No. 19 overall Saturday. But Brown (Oklahoma) and Barnes
    (Washington) still should be on the board.

    "They're all very good," Armey said Wednesday, at the Rams' annual pre-draft
    media luncheon. "They all have excellent feet. They can all do the physical
    things you've got to do on the football field.

    "Barron is a carbon copy of Orlando Pace. He's extremely athletic. He's got
    long arms. Fluid, natural, can do it all. Very smart. His agility and
    everything is good. Barnes is a lot like that. He's a very good athlete.
    There's no reason he can't play either tackle."

    In that sense, Barron and Barnes look a lot like Orlando Pace did coming out of
    college, according to Armey.

    "If you took Pace and Barnes and Barron, and put them together and watched them
    on tape and just put a number on them, you'd see pretty much the same player -
    athletically, natural skills, and everything," Armey said.

    And Brown?

    "Jammal Brown is extremely physical," Armey said. "He's a nasty, tough
    offensive lineman that can dominate the line of scrimmage."

    Lawrence McCutcheon, the Rams' director of player personnel, noted one other
    distinction among Barron, Brown and Barnes.

    "The concern (about) Barron for most people is overall consistency as far as
    his competitiveness from game to game," McCutcheon said. "You don't see that in
    Jammal Brown or Khalif Barnes. Both those guys have the intensity level, and
    their competitive nature is a little bit more consistent that Barron."

    Right tackle is one of the Rams' top need areas, particularly with Kyle Turley
    not expected to return. But it's not the only need area. With only three
    safeties on the roster, that position looks like another target area for the
    Rams in the first round.

    The top safety prospect in the draft is Thomas Davis of Georgia, although some
    teams have him projected as an outside linebacker in the NFL.

    "We have him rated as a safety," Armey said. "He could play either. If you look
    at him on tape, he's fast, he's big, he's strong. ... He's an unusual talent.
    We were looking at him this morning, (McCutcheon) and I, and we don't see
    anything he can't do that he needs to do at either position. He's really a
    top-flight player."

    Armey wasn't tipping his hand about what the Rams might do in the first round,
    be it safety, offensive tackle, or any other position. Conventional wisdom on
    this year's draft says it will be easier to find a decent tackle, as opposed to
    safety, after Round 1. But Armey says that isn't necessarily the case.

    "There are some really good safeties in this draft," Armey said. "There are
    some guys that have played corner - that are big corners - that we know can go
    over and play safety. So we think we can address that need as we go down in the
    draft."

    In general, Armey said this year's pool of draft talent isn't as strong at the
    top as in recent years.

    "But it's got a much larger middle class than most (years)," he said.

    Judging by the numerous mock drafts floating around, it could be an
    unpredictable first round once you get past the top dozen or so players.

    "This is a strange year because there's a big cluster of players that fall
    right at the bottom of Round 1 and into Round 2," Armey said. "So everybody
    sees it different."

    In Armey's opinion, the draft is strong at wide receiver, cornerback, and the
    offensive line. He said the quarterback and tight end positions are weaker than
    usual.

    "And the other positions are pretty much the same," Armey said.

    Members of the Rams' front office spent Wednesday afternoon meeting with its
    security experts for a last-minute checkup on players with off-the-field
    problems. Next, came a meeting with the club's medical experts, for a final
    checkup on players with injury histories.

    Armey, McCutcheon, coach Mike Martz, president John Shaw and president of
    football operations Jay Zygmunt will meet today to finalize how the team will
    stack its draft board. In other words, how the team rates each draftable
    player, regardless of position, from No. 1 to whatever.

    Martz did not attend Wednesday's draft luncheon.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    Some things I noticed...

    -The comments about Barnes are generally much more positive than I would be in that position, which makes me wonder if he's going to be a consideration at #19 if Barron and Brown are gone. Honestly, I hope not.

    -Their saying Thomas Davis doesn't have anything he can't do at either position, I'm not sure if they're referring to LB and SS or both safety positions.

    -Their comment about big corners playing safety makes me wonder if they've targetted guys like Marlin Jackson or Brandon Browner as potential DB options.

    -The comment, "So we think we can address that need as we go down in the
    draft," seems to imply safety may not be a first round option, especially after the main focus of the article was on the three B tackles.

    Of course, it could all be posturing, so who knows.
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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    These are w/o a doubt my favorite interviews...the ones right before the draft, because there are no (or at least few) straight answers. Nobody's tipping any hands, everyone's sending out the message they want other GMs to hear whether it's true or not. Offseason front office poker, great stuff I tell ya, great stuff.
    In that sense, Barron and Barnes look a lot like Orlando Pace did coming out of college, according to Armey.
    He's really talking up Barnes in this one. Is he trying to divert attention from Brown, maybe create a little cushion in case Barron goes before Houston @ 13? Or is Barnes a legitimate contender for 19 regardless of who's there?
    "The concern (about) Barron for most people is overall consistency as far as his competitiveness from game to game," McCutcheon said. "You don't see that in Jammal Brown or Khalif Barnes.
    The only negative comment is directed toward Barron. Is Armey hoping to start a slide that would deter any top 10 pick of Barron?
    "There are some guys that have played corner - that are big corners - that we know can go over and play safety. So we think we can address that need as we go down in the draft."
    Again, is this the plan? Go get a Brandon Browner type and convert him to Safety? Or is it more smoke to take the spot-light off Davis?
    Armey, McCutcheon, coach Mike Martz, president John Shaw and president of
    football operations Jay Zygmunt will meet today to finalize how the team will
    stack its draft board.
    Man, what I wouldn't give to be a fly on that wall.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    He's really talking up Barnes in this one. Is he trying to divert attention from Brown, maybe create a little cushion in case Barron goes before Houston @ 13? Or is Barnes a legitimate contender for 19 regardless of who's there?
    I hope it's not the latter, because I see Barnes as a borderline first round choice. However, if there's a run at tackle - I'm still not ruling out the Titans taking Barron in the first round earlier than expected - then Barnes could be picked earlier due to need.


    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    Again, is this the plan? Go get a Brandon Browner type and convert him to Safety? Or is it more smoke to take the spot-light off Davis?
    I think that would actually be a pretty solid plan for the Rams. Think about it - draft Thomas Davis in round one to play SS, Brandon Browner in round two to groom into the starting FS, and Michael Munoz/Ray Willis/Michael Roos in the third round with a third rounder still available. I can't say I'd be displeased with that, because I think Browner has great size and ability, has a nose for the ball, is solid in man coverage, and is a physical guy that can play the run. He's a bit of a risk and his stock has fallen recently (primarily because, while trying to be a corner, his numbers weren't flattering for that position), but I think he could be a solid pick-up.

    That's what I love about this draft - there are so many scenarios that I see that I really could get behind. I've been a big advocate for Brown in round one, but there are a number of other plans that I think could really benefit this team.
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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    I think that would actually be a pretty solid plan for the Rams. Think about it - draft Thomas Davis in round one to play SS, Brandon Browner in round two to groom into the starting FS, and Michael Munoz/Ray Willis/Michael Roos in the third round with a third rounder still available.
    I could live with it. It's not an immediate answer at RT, but it certainly solidifies our safety spot. And IMO, Ray Willis is one of the most underrated players in the draft. Yea, I could live with it.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    You're right in that it doesn't give us an immediate answer at RT, but if we draft someone to play on the O-line in round three and then still feel like we need more talent after this season, we'll be entering one of the better top-end tackle classes in '06, IMO. I think guys like Miami's Eric Winston, USC's Winston Justice, Virginia's D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Texas's Jon Scott, and Auburn's Marcus McNeill could all grade out as first round picks if they have solid seasons this fall.
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    Re: Rams make final preparations

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    You're right in that it doesn't give us an immediate answer at RT, but if we draft someone to play on the O-line in round three and then still feel like we need more talent after this season, we'll be entering one of the better top-end tackle classes in '06, IMO. I think guys like Miami's Eric Winston, USC's Winston Justice, Virginia's D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Texas's Jon Scott, and Auburn's Marcus McNeill could all grade out as first round picks if they have solid seasons this fall.
    Excellent point, my man. You may could add Andrew Whitworth to that list as well. Surely one of the 6 would be there when we pick next year...it's certainly something to think about.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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